Past Marketing Publications

 

Articles

A longitudinal examination of negative political advertising and advertisement attitudes: a North American example
Journal of Marketing Communications, 10, pp. 213-224, September 2004.
By Douglas R. Robideaux
 

This study examined the cognitive and affective components of advertisement attitudes towards positive and negative political advertising.  Simulated advertisements for two US presidential campaigns conducted eight years apart were given to student samples at two state universities.  The results indicated that, while overall attitudes had not changed, when examining sponsor-positive advertisements and opponent-negative advertisements separately the components of advertisement attitudes had changed over the eight-year time span, particularly for female subjects.

A reasonable solution to the Iraqi quagmire
MiBizWest, May 2004, p 38-39
By Ben Rudolph
 

Some of you may recall that I was in favor of removing Saddam Hussein.  Saddam was one of the most viscous dictators in the world and his human rights record ranks along side that of North Korea's Kim Jong II (another good candidate for removal).  In a sane world the UN or some other international body would have a real police force in order to take care of those who commit genocide.

While I was in favor of removing Saddam, I never shared President Bush's illusion about creating New England-style democracy in Iraq, a country with no democratic tradition.  All I advocated was for us to remove Saddam, set up a government that works, and then leave.  I really don't care what type of government Iraq has just as long as they are not mass murderers and do not threaten world peace.

Adventures in Team Teaching
Marketing Management Association, Marketing in a Changing World, Spring, 2004 Proceedings.
By Paul Lane & John Farris
 

Parallel coursing is defined as, "two courses taught in part in the same space and time by two different faculty teaching two separate classes".  Parallel coursing was developed to allow interdisciplinary teaching across professional schools in order to mimic real processes.  One application of the concept is presented and evaluated.

Aiding and Abetting Corporate Entrepreneurship
Deep in the Heart of Entrepreneurship Texas '04, 18th Annual USASBE National Conference, Dallas, Texas, January, 2004
By John Farris & Paul Lane
 

Grand Valley State University has been working with corporate clients in a shared process for students, faculty, and practitioners to learn more about corporate entrepreneurship.  Faculty in engineering and business taught parallel courses in New Product Development and Design.  The faculty used two textbook models, and their own experiences in the entrepreneurial process.  Faculty and students learned about corporate entrepreneurship from practitioners in a range of companies, from a start-up to a multinational.  The students further contributed to the understanding of corporate entrepreneurship by sharing their experiences from their employment, and working with the companies as clients. 

America's real economic vulnerability
MiBizWest, April 2004, p 30-31
By Ben Rudolph
 

One hears much economic scar talk these days.  To tell you the truth, I don't believe much of it.  Technology has given media a lot of time and space to fill and scare talk gets pretty good ratings.

Much of the energy scare talk is reminiscent of the scare talk of a century or more ago.  In the 1870s, William Stanley Jevons, the most famous economist of his era, wrote a book called The Coal Question in which he warned that the world was running out of coal and that society would have to return to a pre-industrial age existence.  He based his prediction on the known coal reserves of his era and assumed ever-increasing coal consumption going on into the indefinite future.  While his mathematical calculations were correct, he did not foresee additional coal reserves being found or the substitution of other fuels for coal.  Today no one fears running out of coal.

An Exploratory Investigation of a Salesperson Wellness Lifestyle
Proceedings of the National Conference in Sales Management, April, 2004
By Stephen S. Porter, Cindy Claycomb, & Frederic B. Kraft
 

The present exploratory study empirically investigates research issues associated with a salesperson wellness lifestyle construct.  A wellness lifestyle has been theorized to aid salespeople in developing the ability to cope with environmental stress.  This paper empirically examines the applicability of an existing wellness lifestyle measure in a sales context and the measure's association with salesperson burnout and job performance.  Results indicate that while efforts are required to improve and to extend the scale, continued research promises to be fruitful.

Business Ethics
MiBizWest, April 2004, p 30-31
By Ben Rudolph
 

Businesspeople are no more or less ethical than any other group of people.  Corruption and dishonesty is endemic to any large human endeavor.  A fair number of people have no moral anchor.  That is how it is; that is how it always has been; and that is how it always will be.

It has not changed in all of human history.  Those who believe that business ethics are worse today simply have short memories or no sense of history.  People who think businesspeople are more dishonest than others have not paid attention to the numerous scandals in every other large human endeavor including churches, non-profits, universities, and government.  A fair percentage of the population is dishonest no matter what vocation they happen to select.  For those who douby this I recommend a careful reading of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.

Catalog Retailer In-Stock Performance: An Assessment of Customer Service Levels
Journal of Business Logistics, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2004, pp. 119-137
By John C. Taylor, Stanley E. Fawcett, & George C. Jackson
 

The purpose of this article is to provide insights into the degree to which firms are actually delivering on the promise of modern day supply chain management.  The research reported here examines the level of in-stock customer service levels in the catalog retail channel, and provides comparisons to the level of service found in prior studies of the bricks and mortar retail channel.  A number of leading supply chain management logistics textbooks and articles have focused on the evolution of the supply chain and its ability to deliver excellent service levels at low cost.  For instance, one leading text states that:

The frequent occurrence of service failures that characterized the past is increasingly being replaced by a growing managerial commitment to zero defect or what is commonly called six-sigma performance.  Perfect orders - delivering the desires assortment and quantity of products to the correct location on time - once the exception, are now becoming the expectation (Bowersox, Closs, and Bixby 2002).

Given this level of expectation, what level of customer service, in terms of on-shelf in-stock position is actually being delivered by retailers at the end of the supply chain?

Consumers: The theoretical foundations of online behavior
Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design, January, 2005
By Fred Volk & Frederic B. Kraft
 

Consumer behavior is a complex set of related mental and physical activities that people pursue to conduct the exchange and consumption aspects of their lives (Markin, 1074; Peter & Olson, 2002).  E-commerce solution providers must understand how consumers employ the Internet in their participation of these exchange and consumption activities.  These activities can be conceptualized as responses to various internal (physical and mental) and external (social and physical - including marketing) stimuli.  When consumers recognize unmet needs as a result of processing these stimuli, they engage in a sequential (and sometimes reiterative) series of goal-directed mental and physical activities aimed at satisfying these needs.  These activities include the perception of a deficit or problem, a determination of available solutions for the problem, an evaluation of the alternative solutions, a choice of solutions, and postchoice and postconsumption activities.

These activities have become known as the consumer decision process, the study of which has become an organizing model for many textbooks in consumer behavior.  The nature and extensiveness of each stage of this process depends on the skills, experience, attitudes, knowledge, confidence, and behavioral tendencies of the consumer; the goal object (target of acquisition); context of the customer experience; user motivations; and the interaction between two or more of these.  We must consider these behaviors and how that target limits or enhances the users' application of the Internet to support their consumer experience.  As providers of e-commerce customer experiences, it is generally our goal to guide potential customers to a positive postconsumpive experience in a timely manner (both from the customers' and the providers' perspectives).

Some users come to their Internet session with the consumer decision process already engaged, whereas others have hedonic goals that do not involve the framework of the consumer decision process.  Each user group and subgroup presents designers of e-commerce solutions with an opportunity to design advertising, product information, and Web-based product representations in a manner that assists users in clarifying their needs, reducing their perceived risk of meeting those needs, and obtaining the products and services that will enable postconsumption satisfaction. 

Cool Cities: mega-projects vs. basic economic infrastructure
MiBizWest, June 2004, p 30
By Ben Rudolph
 

There is a lot of talk in West Michigan these days about what makes for the development of a "cool city".  This whole discussion is a bit ludicrous in that "cool city" is not a political term that does not have a clear definition.  A cool city can therefore be whatever you think it should be.  (In point of fact, young people these days use the ghetto slang term "phat" more than the word cool, providing that whoever made up the cool city slogan is actually an un-cool and elderly geezer.  The word cool was a ghetto slang term in the 1950s.  I know these things because I am a college professor and I work with actual young people.)

If you mean a cool city in the sense of a city with some sophisticated urban glamour and excitement, most West Michigan cities have a long way to go.  The question then becomes how should we develop the desired veneer of sexy urban cosmopolitan glamour that educated young people seek and desire.

Costs of the U.S.-Canada Border
North American Economic and Financial Integration, Vol. 10, pp. 283-297, 2004.
By John C. Taylor, Douglas R. Robideaux, & George C. Jackson
 

This paper reports on the results of a research project aimed at estimating the cost of border crossing transit time and uncertainty for the U.S. and Canadian economies.  The cost estimates are based on a review of prior reports, some 20 site visits to seven key crossings, and 173 interviews of knowledgeable organizations/persons.  The key finding is that border transit time and uncertainty are costing some U.S.$4.01 billion, or 1.05% of total 2001 merchandise trade, and 1.58% of truck-based trade levels.  The primary implication of the research is that it provides a baseline estimate of costs that can be used in cost-benefit analysis of alternative border management strategies.

Designing Entrepreneurship: Vision and Mission for NBEEntrepreneurshipMinor
Academy of Business Administration, 2004 International Conference London, England.
By Paul M. Lane & John Farris
 

Teaching a physical product idea course leads to some special challenges.  The committee that designed this course charged the faculty with being inclusive of Engineering and Marketing.  A little thought suggested that if engineering was to be an important part of the course than it would be essential to be dealing with real products.  Further the goal was to make the course interdisciplinary across the campus.  It is the inclusion of ideas from many different disciplines that seems to work well with Entrepreneurship. 

Developing Advertising for the New Chinese Consumer Market
Journal of International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 84-89, August, 2004.
By Jennifer A. Pope & James A. Pope
 

Advertising has always played an important role when a society has an open market.  China opened its market in 1979 and changed the official stance toward advertising from "an essential corrupter of capitalism" to an accepted part of the new socialist doctrine (Pollay & Tze, 1990).  Since that time, the Chinese market has developed from a strictly state controlled one to a market that is relatively open.  There has already been a significant amount of research done on the first decade of advertising in the People's Republic of China.  This paper proposes to examine the development in consumer advertising in China during the second decade.  The development of distinct market segments as well as the privatization of many of the state- controlled enterprises should have a significant impact on the advertisements in the PRC in the late 1980s and the 1990s.

Engaging Entrepreneurs Across the University
Proceedings of the NCIAA Annual Meeting, San Jose, CA, March, 2004.
By John Farris & Paul Lane
 

In the summer of 2003 an interdisciplinary committee representing the Seidman School of Business, the Padnos School of Engineering and other representatives from entities on campus gathered to develop an entrepreneurship minor of students from any functional major.  After surveying the student body to gage their interests in entrepreneurship in general and specifically in participating in a minor in entrepreneurship, the committee tailored the minor to serve students who had an idea for physical product or small service business.  An art student who wanted to start her own gallery, a physical therapy student who had an idea for a product to make his job easier or a nursing student who dreamed of running her own home care company were the target market for the minor.  These students had ideas and passion but did not know how to start to develop a product or business.  The committee convened a focus group of successful entrepreneurs to find out what knowledge and skills they believed were required to be successful.

The proposed minor consists of six new courses students would take over a three-year period.  The first year courses, The Entrepreneurial Quest and New Venture Feasibility, provide an overview of the breadth of activities typical of a new business owner and take the student through the initial stages of creating a new product or services and preparing to enter the marketplace.  In the second year, students will learn the basic theories, concepts, and techniques that serve as the tools of entrepreneurship and new venture planning.  In the third year, students will apply the previously learned material in a series of practicum opportunities ranging from consulting with local small businesses, completing an entrepreneurial internship or a supervised field experience that could include the actual launch of the student business.

As envisioned, faculty from different disciplines or even schools will team teach the courses.  Faculty from the Padnos School of Engineering and the Seidman School of Business will teach the two first courses.  This paper focuses on the opportunities and challenges faced by the business and engineering faculty when teaching entrepreneurship to students who do not have a business or engineering background.

Exploring the Relationships Between Salesforce Customer Orientation, Relationship Development Assessment, and Behavioral Control
2004 National Conference in Sales Management, Reno, Nevada, April, 2004.
By Charles H. Schwepker, Jr. & David J. Good
 

Although customer-oriented selling has been linked to customer relationship development, studies to date have not examined management's evaluation of salespeople's relationship development skills as a salesforce control mechanism.  Given the important role of the control system in influencing employee behavior (Anderson and Oliver 1987), inclusion of relationship development assessment in the control system would seem critical in helping to foster customer-oriented selling and, subsequently, relationship development.  This paper provides results from an exploratory study that examines the relationships between customer-oriented selling, sales management's assessment of salespeople's ability to develop customer relationships, and behavioral control mechanisms.  Results show that positive relationships exist between these variables.

Graduate Students Teach Faculty the Benefit of Ecommerce in the New Product Development Process
Marketing Journal Association, March, 2004, Chicago, Illinois.
By Paul Lane, John Farris, Kurt A. Carlson, & Jody Diehl
 

Learn how faculty were inspired to implement changes in a New Product Development course by observing how students used Internet to build networks of potential customers, experts and creative people.  One group of students used the networks to quickly obtain information from a representative group of target customers.  The other group used the Internet to solicit many ideas to solve a technical problem.  Due to the success of these methods, the faculty will incorporate web-based networks in the new Product Development class.  These web-based networks will have a specific composition to help deal with both marketing and engineering issues.

How long will outsourcing from China remain cheap?
MiBizWest, November 2004, p 29A
By Ben Rudolph
 

I have steadfastly remained one of the few people willing to openly and candidly advocate outsourcing to China.  Although I know that my views about foreign oursourcing are not widely popular in West Michigan, I am always happy to see high quality products made less expensively.

American consumers benefit from outsourcing by having products and services deliver better value for the consumer's hard earned money.  I freely admit that I have often recommended foreign outsourcing to my consulting clients.  How many other people in our area would proudly admit that in print?

In Search of Innovators in the University Community
ASEE Final Conference Program and Proceedings, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2004.
By John Farris, Paul Lane, & Nancy Levenburg
 

An interdisciplinary team of faculty charged with developing an entrepreneurship program discovered that innovation flourishes outside of business and engineering.  In the summer of 2003, eight faculty members - six from the School of Business and two from the School of Engineering - gathered to construct an entrepreneurship program that would prepare students to conceive, evaluate and launch entrepreneurial ventures.  As a first step, a survey was conducted to measure students' interest in entrepreneurship.  To the surprise of the authors, students outside the engineering and business schools appeared to be more interested in starting their own business.  These students have more new venture ideas and were more alert to opportunities for new businesses.  These survey respondents came from Science and Math, Arts and Humanities, Nursing and Education.

Now where are the engineering and business faculty members to teach innovation, new products processes and entrepreneurship to non-engineering and non-business students?  Do you have entrepreneurial faculty who can develop and champion entrepreneurship programs?  Who among your faculty is capable of teaching the appropriate mix of theory and practice to feed the entrepreneur's passion fir innovation?  These innovators need practical interdisciplinary courses to assess the feasibility of their ideas.  Further many need to work with engineering professionals to transform their ideas into realistic designs and prototypes.  Have you got faculty who are comfortable doling out engineering as needed?  The quick answer to all these questions is probably, "No".  Are we missing the opportunity to build the communities in which we live by failing to encourage, support, and lead innovation?

Is MSU ripping off W. Michigan in the medical school acquisition?
MiBizWest, September 2004, p 38
By Ben Rudolph
 

West Michigan's "leaders" have always been suckers for status and prestige.  They thought they found a real jewel when MSU offered to move its struggling College of Human Medicine to West Michigan.

In some regards this move might be considered a sale, although under the current proposal MSU would continue to manage the institution.

The MSU College of Human Medicine is a relatively recent creation that has always lived under the shadow of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine.  The college of Human Medicine was created to bring MSU itself some prestige since osteopathic medicine plays second string to traditional medicine in the medical community.

Joint Venture Dissolution in Developed and Less Developed Counties: Exploring Political Stability and Types of Termination
Academy of Marketing Science, 2004 Conference Proceedings, Vol. XXVII
By Jennifer A. Pope, Sindy Chapa, & Angela Hausman
 

This study examines the role of political stability and economic development of the host country in the termination of international joint ventures.  It will show how these factors influence the method in which a joint venture is terminated.

Due to the significantly high failure rate of business relationships (Reuer 2002), it is important to examine how joint ventures are dissolved with one of the partners buying the other partner(s) out (Reuer 2002).  However, there are several other factors to consider in this process, for example, the location of the venture and the importance of issues such as political stability and level of economic development play in how and why joint ventures are terminated.  This study is designed to examine how the role of political stability and economic development influence how the joint venture relationship is terminated.  Chen and Chen (1998) found that issues such as political stability and economic development are very important in predicting the success or failure of joint ventures.  Serapio and Cascio (1996) claimed that it is important for businesses to understand the impact of the location on the strategy for exiting a joint venture so that they can better prepare an end-game plan before going in to the venture.  Therefore, given the previously established relevance of location and level of development of the host country, the purposes of this study are (1) to classify international joint ventures (IJVs) into groups based on political stability and type of termination, and (2) to explore the role that the level of political stability and type of termination plays in developed and less developed counties. 

Managing Cross-Functional Teams
Integrating Practice into Engineering Education, 2004 National Conference, October, 2004
By John Farris & Paul Lane
 

Product innovation is an increasingly cross-functional undertaking.  In an effort to prepare leaders for this interdisciplinary effort, the authors are developing a methodology to teach the product innovation process to graduate engineering and marketing students.  Two parallel courses are offered in one semester.  The classes follow the same schedule, and participate in the same experimental learning component but have different curriculum, texts, and faculty.  The objective of the project is to design a new to the world product and create a market entry plan.

The complex collaboration between marketing and engineering students is facilitated using a modified product innovation process.  The contributions that marketing and engineering make to each phase of the product innovation process are emphasized.  This paper describe how the authors manage the cross-functional teams of student so that the projects are completed successfully and that the students learn to lead cross-functional teams.

Marketing Enhances Engineering Product Innovation
2004 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 2004.
By John Farris & Paul Lane
 

Product innovation is increasingly a multi-disciplinary undertaking.  In an effort to prepare leaders for this interdisciplinary effort, the authors are developing a methodology and a guiding model to teach the product innovation process to graduate engineering and marketing students.  In this innovative program, two parallel courses are offered in one semester.  The classes follow the same schedule, and participate in the same experiential learning component by have different curriculum, texts, and faculty.  The classes meet together or separately in order to facilitate a learning community surrounding the product innovation process.  Faculty members evaluate students in their own disciplines.  The objective of the project is to design a new to the world product and create a market entry plan.  The engineering and marketing students work together to research and develop a product that the customers want and that can be produced for the price the customers are willing to pay.

The complex collaboration between marketing and engineering students is facilitated using a modified product innovation process.  The model provides a framework to integrate marketing's focus on the customer, research, information technology, and the core benefit into the innovation process with the engineer's focus on function and technology.  The contributions marketing and engineering make to each phase of the product innovation process are emphasized.  The second theme is iteration and adoption.  As marketing and engineering develop information about the product and its potential market, the design and marketing plan must change.  Suggestions are made for improving the courses based on what has been learned and where the program is going. 

Measuring Entrepreneurial Orientation in an Individualized Technology Context
Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 16, No. 2, October, 2004, pp. 1-22
By Robert W. Stone & David J. Good
 

An empirical test was performed to determine if an entrepreneurial proclivity exists among executives in small businesses who are users of technology. The theoretical structure was forged using research on entrepreneurial orientation - adjusted for technology and individual contexts.  A mail survey was sent to a target population of individuals in small businesses who have historically demonstrated a proclivity toward entrepreneurship and who are computer users.

The empirical results indicated that four of the five dimensions of an individual entrepreneurial orientation in a technology context were statistically significant.  These four dimensions were manager characteristics of being proactive, innovative, and assertive as well as autonomy in the workplace.  Based on these results, conclusions and managerial implications are offered.

New strip joints prove that politically incorrect sells
MiBizWest, August 2004, p 26
By Ben Rudolph
 

Have you noticed all the new strip clubs opening in West Michigan?  I guess we will have to admit that even West Michigan tourists and conventioneers are interested in politically incorrect sex.  Visitors may come to Grand Rapids to attend a religious convention but after the convention meets are over attendees want the same things as other conventioneers want in any location: booze and sex.  I guess what happens in Grand Rapids stays in Grand Rapids.

Let's admit it sexual desire is a normal part of human existence.  As comedian Jackie Mason says, soup is also a normal part of human existence yet nobody makes as big a fuss about soup as they do about sex.  (Actually I do.  I really get excited about good soup.)

Overtime pay rules: an election year time bomb?
MiBizWest, February 2004, p 35
By Ben Rudolph
 

At this point in the election cycle President Bush probable feels pretty confident of re-election.  The economy is recovering and the U.S. finally caught Saddam.  While the war in Iraq is still with us and it is increasingly apparent that the occupation was not well handled, few Americans seem in the mood to second-guess the president on this issue, at least for now.

Moreover, the Democratic candidates, as impressive as they may be, have flaws that would make them difficult to sell to Main Street middle-America.  Unless President Bush makes a major error between now and election time his-re-election appears to be a given.  It appears so certain that Pat Robinson claims God told him to count on it.  (I wish that statement was a joke, but it isn't.  Pat actually made that claim.)

Political Affiliation and the Ad Attitude of Negative Political Advertising: A Longitudinal Examination
The Marketing Management Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 1, pp. 153-162, 2003
By Douglas Robideaux
 

This study examined the political party affiliation of respondents and their cognitive and affective ad attitudes toward political ads that were positive in content and negative in context.  Additionally, data from both the 1992 and the 2000 presidential races were examined for differences and trends toward negative and positive political ads.  Trends and differences in the cognitive and affective evolutions were found that may offer guidelines when political ads reach out to members of their own party or to members of the opposing party.

Pressurized Zero-Sum Game Negotiation Outcomes: Gender Contrast
Marketing Management Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 2, Fall, 2004
By Michael Cotter & James A. Henley, Jr.
 

This study contrasts the success in negotiation outcomes of newly trained women and men in face-to-face, zero-sum game scenario with a time deadline and significant gender differences when acting as buyers regardless of seller gender.  However, negotiation results were discovered to be significantly different by gender when acting as training and when assigning employees to buying and selling tasks.

Sailing into the gale - who will survive?
MiBizWest, May 2004, p 34
By Ben Rudolph
 

Running a business is like steering a ship into strong winds.  That is the nature of free enterprise.  In theory, and often in fact, the consumer is the beneficiary of the hard work and effort needed to keep the ship on course.  It is the customer's money that is at stake and it is the customer who decies who will survive the storm.  That makes running a business an endless amount of hard work and worry.  Every day brings new challenges.  It certainly would not be worth the effort except for the fact that if you happen to win the race the economic system sometimes pays you off with an awful lot of money.  If you lose the race it is the equivalent of a person dying.  You might have better luck and easier sailing next time.  In a bizarre way, some people actually enjoy the experience.

Spectrum Health major price increase predictable
MiBizWest, July 2004, p 30
By Ben Rudolph
 

Spectrum Health recently announced that their prices will be increasing by 12 percent next fall.  Big surprise!  Long time readers will recall my prediction of this increase in 1997 when Butterworth and Blodgett Hospitals were allowed to merge in order to form Spectrum.

At the time of the merger Spectrum was sued by the FTC and ordered by a federal judge to freeze prices for three years and to increase prices no more than the Consumer Price Index for four years after that.  The seven years are now up and Spectrum is pretty much free to do what they want.

Synergistic Power of Multi-Disciplinary Teams
Proceedings of the Academy of Creativity and Innovation, Vol. 1, No. 2, Maui, 2004
By Paul Lane & John Farris
 

Project teams composed of students from different professional schools harness synergistic power to perform better and learn more in an environment close to industrial practice.  Parallel courses are used to teach new product development to graduate engineering and marketing students.  In this course, interdisciplinary teams work to design a product and market entry plan.  The product has to satisfy customer needs for a price customers are willing to pay.

This paper is focused on the benefits of interdisciplinary teams.  They have enriched the learning experience for all stakeholders in numerous ways.  First, the level of creativity of the teams has increased with the addition of people who approach problem solving with different mind sets and backgrounds.  They ask questions from different perspectives and stir the creativity mix.

Students and corporate clients comment that these teams are much better preparation for application as they reflect the cutting edge of practice.  Imagine students and faculty gaining the synergy of thinking about common problems across functional areas.  This leads to a much more holistic approach and to breaking out of academic discipline silos.

The synergy generated by the multidisciplinary teams stretches far beyond the students and their particular disciplines.  Faculty members in their environment are stretched to think outside the box of their colleagues and discipline.  Teams also create change and challenge from corporate clients as well.  Perhaps even more amazing is the downstream impacts as it leads to one faculty joining in a grant proposal in another school, or includes faculty from one school in a visit by a professional to another.

The multidisciplinary teams have powered a program in New Product Development to places not dreamed about it at its inception, in the classroom, in the learning community, the school, with corporate clients, and in the university.  The potential impact of the synergy has great applications in education and in practice.  Companies everywhere are struggling with creativity, synergy, and holistic approaches while education turns out silo bound students.  Here is one way to help unleash the power of creativity that lurks within each individual.

The Decline and Fall of the prestigious MBA program
MiBizWest, December 2004, p 33
By Ben Rudolph
 

Hidden in the joy and euphoria local colleges and universities have expressed about their ever increasing enrollment is one glaringly negative statistic.  The number of people going on for the Masters in Business Administration degree (MBA) has fallen precipitously in recent years.

According to the 2004 Applications Trends Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, 78 percent of the universities offering traditional two-year MBA programs have experienced a significantly decreased number of applications this year, while 67 percent of the universities offering accelerated one-year programs also experienced a significant application decline.  Grand Valley State University's Seidman college of Business experienced a 14 percent decline in MBA applications this year and my personal conversations with faculty members at other local institutions indicate that their declines were similar or, in some cases, even greater than the Seidman College decline.

U.S.-Canada Transportation and Logistics: Border Impacts and Costs, Causes, and Possible Solutions
Transportation Journal, Vol. 43, No. 4, Fall 2004.
By John C. Taylor, Douglas R. Robideaux, & George C. Jackson
 

This article examines the levels of trade and transportation on the U.S.-Canadian border, and the cost impacts that border and bilateral trade policies impose on that trade.  More importantly, the article focuses on the causes of those impacts, and suggests a number of short- to medium- term approaches to reducing these costs.  Finally, long-term strategies, including a North American "external perimeter" approach, are reviewed and discussed.  Border and related trade policies are found to be costing the two economies US$10.3 billion per year, or 2.7 percent of total 2001 merchandise trade.  The primary cause of the delay and uncertainty related portion of these costs is found to be institutional and staff related, and not infrastructure related.  Consequently, solutions need to address many of the institutional causes before long-term investment in new infrastructure is addressed.  An alternative to major investment would be movement towards an "external perimeter" strategy that would de-emphasize the physical U.S.-Canadian border.  The research provides insights into the savings that might accrue if an external perimeter border management strategy were adopted.

Understanding sales quotas: An exploratory investigation of consequences of failure
The Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2004.
By Charles H. Schwepker, Jr. & David J. Good
 

Sales quotas typically "drive" sales organizations.  As such, the ability of the sales organization, both individually (the salesperson) and the group (the total collection of the sales professionals), to accomplish its quota has a significant impact on the performance of the sales and marketing organization, as well as the entire firm.  Within the context of this use, quotas represent a critical sales goal, although very little is actually known about their strategic or operational use within marketing organizations.  The purpose of this paper is to investigate quotas from a strategic and operational perspective to provide additional insight into understanding sales quotas.  Specifically, this manuscript investigates the consequences of failing to achieve quota and the relationship between these consequences and sales person performance, salesperson income, and the firm's annual sales revenue.  In addition, the relationship between these variables and quota difficulty, and quota performance are explored.

Unlimited Usage Bundled Fixed Pricing Plans vs. Individual Component Pricing for Service Marketers
International Business Trends: Contemporary Readings, 2004 Edition, Academy of Business Administration, pp. 315-317
By Bennett L. Rudolph & R. Eugene Klippel
 

Many service marketers utilize unlimited usage plans as a competitive pricing tool.  These plans appear to be exceptional values but are based on the buyer's assumption of the need for heavy usage.  Marketers are aware that most buyers are not in fact heavy users but that consumers often overestimate their needs.  This paper examines the unlimited usage pricing phenomenon in service marketing and describes the economics and marketing strategy of over-capacity utilization that drives it.

Why Did Meijer Blink?
MiBizWest, January 2004, p 27
By Ben Rudolph
 

Meijer recently did something rare - it proved me wrong.  I had just finished publishing a column complimenting the company for sticking to its marketing strategy and holding its own against the Wal-Mart onslaught when the news came out that Meijer was switching its marketing strategy and terminating numerous employees as a result.  Meijer has apparently blinked.

Why West Michigan Retailers Fear Costco
MiBizWest, March 2004, p 35
By Ben Rudolph
 

Costco is likely to open its first West Michigan outlet prior to next Christmas.  The store is slated to be at 28th Street and I-96 in Cascade, provided the retailer wins the usual and expected zoning battles.

All I can say is that West Michigan retailers have every reason to be fearful.  Costco is the only competitor that even Wal-Mart fears.  Costco, with only 390 locations, has less than half as many stores as Wal-Mart's Sam's Club.  Yet Costco does twice as much business as Sam's Club.  It is enough to make Meijer think twice about remaining independent, especially since Target (the third player in scrambled mass merchandizing and groceries) currently has no grocery operations in our area. 

"A Longitudinal Study of Parochial Contributions: A Pilot Study"
Journal of Ministry Marketing & Management, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1998, pp. 79-88.
By Michael J. Cotter, James A. Henley, Jr. and J. Duncan Herrington

 

Parishioners' contributions are analyzed for a U.S. Roman Catholic church covering a 22-year period. Inflation-adjusted statistics are offered along with trend analysis including breakdowns on a yearly, monthly and weekly basis. Unlike surveys which may rely on memory and be vulnerable to social pressure, the data used in this study is directly observable and based on dollar tabulation actual giving. The analysis may offer a point of comparison for future studies to uncover current Catholic giving trends. This information may be useful for administrators in forecasting revenues for more effective budget preparation. 

"A Model of Information Technology Impacts: An Invariance Analysis By Executive Position"
The Review of Business Information Systems, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2002, pp. 17-28.
By Robert W. Stone and David J. Good

The invariance, by executive position in the organization, of an information technology impacts model is examined. The theoretical model links computer training, and end-user previous computer experience, information (provided by the system) quality, ease of system use, and customer performance impacts through system use and satisfaction. The empirical examination uses data fro a national mail survey. The respondents are business executives at four different organizational levels (i.e. owners, senior executives, marketing executives, and middle/operational executives). The quantitative technique used is invariance analysis based on structural equation modeling. The results indicate that the interrelationships among the theoretical constructs in the model are generally invariant across these different organizational positions. The one difference identified is the path from information quality to system use. Examining each executive group individually shows that this path is significant for marketing executives, but no other executive group. Thus, the identified difference appears to be produced by the importance of information quality on marketing executives' use of computer systems. Managerial implications, conclusions, and suggestions for future research are discussed based upon these results.

"Aiding and Abetting Corporate Entrepreneurship"
18th Annual USASBE National Conference Proceedings, January 2004.
By John Farris and Paul Lane

Grand Valley State University has been working with corporate clients in a shared process for students, faculty, and practitioners to learn more about corporate entrepreneurship.  Faculty in engineering and business taught parallel courses in New Product Development and Design.  The faculty used to textbook models, and their own experiences in the entrepreneurial process.  Faculty and students learned about corporate entrepreneurship from practitioners in a range of companies, from a start-up to a multinational.  The students further contributed to the understanding of corporate entrepreneurship by sharing their experiences from their employment, and in working with companies as clients.

"An Analysis of Trends in Online Education"
The Technology Source - http://horizon.unc.edu/TS/#levenburg
By Nancy Levenburg

The seeming paradox between the enthusiasm towards online education and the lukewarm enrollments such programs inspire can be explained by the product lifecycle, a well-documented marketing concept. The product lifecycle concept holds that a new product (good or service) innovation moves through a series of fairly predictable stages, from development and testing to introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Online education has just recently entered the growth stage of the product lifecycle. Since taking classes that are not delivered "on ground" is a substantial departure from traditional delivery methods and models in higher education, compatibility and perceived complexity could be factors that are slowing the rate of adoption of online sclasses. This may be particularly relevant if online education is perceived as somewhat complex by the traditional educator, since s/he is in a position to influence student interest and enrollments.

"Anti-Americanism and the War in Iraq"
MiBizWest, June 2003, pp. 38, 39.
By Bennett L. Rudolph

It always surprises my liberal friends to hear me speak in favor of the recent war in Iraq.  Those of you who read my column regularly should not be surprised.  I don't happen to like cruel dictators or mass murderers in any part of the world.  It amazes me when generally nice and congenial people think of rationalizations that permit these types of rulers to continue to exist.  I agree with Woodrow Wilson's idea that the world needs an effective and competent international police force in order to stop genocide wherever and whenever it occurs.

Unfortunately the international police force idea did not work in Wilson's time and we have essentially made no progress on it since.  The United Nations is purposely kept absolutely powerless and is nothing more than a debating society.  We need a political debating society in the world and we should therefore not give up on the U.N., but we still are very much in immediate need of an actual world police force that is effective.

''Anything But ITV!!'' An Exploration of Faculty Members' Reluctance Toward Teaching ITV-Delivered Courses"
Marketing Management Association, 2000 Proceedings, pp. 194-199.
By Suzeanne Benet and Nancy Levenburg,

This paper summarizes the results of research conducted to explore faculty members 'perceptions' about courses delivered by interactive television (ITV). Significant differences were found between what faculty members think they will encounter in an ITV-delivered course and the report from those who have actually taught ITV classes.

"A Reasonable Solution to the Iraqi Quagmire"
MiBizWest, May 17, 2004, pp. 38-39.
By Ben Rudolph

Some of you may recall that I was in favor of removing Saddam Hussein. Saddam was one of the most viscous dictators in the world and his human rights record ranks along side that of North Koreas Kim Jong II (another good candidate for removal). In a sane world the UN or some other international body would have a real police force in order to take care of those who commit genocide.

"Back-Channel Power and Control in West Michigan"
MiBizWest, August 2003, pp. 39.
By Bennett L. Rudolph
A few months ago the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra board felt that they had worked out an ideal concert schedule for next season.  The only major problem they faced was DeVos Hall availability dates.  In order to have a holiday season concert the symphony board would have to exercise their contractual right to utilize DeVos Hall on a night that had been used for a Calvin College event in previous years.  While regretting having to displace Calvin, the board felt that the cultural benefits of the concert would outweigh the inconvenience to Calvin.  The board therefore voted to hold the concert on the night formerly held for Calvin.  Soon thereafter a call came from a key donor.  The symphony hoard was told in no uncertain terms that if the symphony expected any future support or cooperation they had better abandon the proposed schedule and make room for the Calvin event.  The symphony hoard immediately reversed itself and did as they were ordered to do.
"Border-Related Costs Attributed to U.S. - Canadian Border Crossings"
Canadian Transportation Research Forum, May 2003, pp. 228-242.
By Douglas R. Robideaux
The U.S. and Canada are the world's two largest trading partners and have experienced rapid growth in trade volumes over the last decade.  However, this 'longest undefended border in the world' has come under increased security scrutiny, especially since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  The additional security procedures have added to the preexisting costs of border crossing, which were already considered burdensome.  This research was undertaken to develop estimates of economic costs attributable to U.S. and Canadian border crossings.  These costs estimates were derived from multiple secondary and primary research methodologies.  The general cost of border crossings between the two countries is estimated at about $6.3 billion per year.  The costs associated with border transit time and the uncertainty of border transit time are estimated at another $4.0 billion.  Recommendations for reducing these border costs are discussed. 

"Bush Tax Plan Ignores Economics"
MiBizWest, April 2003, pp. 43.
By Bennett L. Rudolph

Don't take out a variable rate loan at this time.  When economic recovery finally does arrive we are going to be in for a dose of massive inflation and high interest rates.  Therefore, the time to lock in an interest rate is now.

How do I know this?  It is simply a matter of supply and demand.  The more money government borrows the less money available to private borrowers and the higher the interest rate that will be charged.  Despite President Bush's protests otherwise, the law of supply and demand is one law the government is not capable of repealing.

Right now there is little private demand for loans and the government is just warming up its planned borrowing.  These things will soon change.

We face vastly decreased government revenues due to massive tax cuts while simultaneously financing a new war and a massive increase in domestic spending.  It does not take a genius to figure out what will happen.  Just as the economic laws were not repealed in the 1990s, when pundits predicted endless prosperity based on new technology, they have not been repealed in the year 2003 when administration officials predict massive government debt and huge increases in spending without increasing inflation and interest rates.  Does anyone remember the Johnson administration?

Why do we have to relearn these lessons anew every few decades?  The answer is that politics really drive these decisions, not economics.

"Can America Prosper without Manufacturing?"
MiBizWest, March 2003, pp. 38-39.
By Ben Rudolph

American manufacturing is currently going through a third and perhaps terminal wave of foreign sourcing. Even in West Michigan, which is truly America''s manufacturing heartland, manufacturing jobs are disappearing at a record rate.

Unfortunately, the trend seems to be accelerating and permanent. Our current economic troubles are not the primary cause. While the economic depression exacerbates the problem, the long-term trend is obvious and was apparent even during the economic boom of the 1990s. Many of our local companies are turning into what economists call "hollow companies." They continue to exist and market their products to their loyal customers, but they source many or most of their products overseas.

"Catalog Retailer In-Stock Performance: An Assessment of Customer Service Levels"
Journal of Business Logistics, Vol. 25, Edition 2, pp. 119-138, Summer 04.
By John Taylor, Stanley Fawcett, George Jackson

The purpose of this article is to provide insights into the degree to which firms are actually delivering on the promise of modern day supply chain management. The research reported here examines the level of in-stock customer service levels in the catalog retail channel, and provides comparisons to the level of service found in prior studies of the bricks and mortar retail channel. A number of leading supply chain management logistics textbooks and articles have focused on the evolution of the supply chain and its ability to deliver excellent service levels at low cost.

"Consumers: The Theoretical Foundation on Online Behavior"
Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design, January 2005, pp. 595-612
By Fred Volk and Frederic B. Kraft

Consumers behavior is a complex set of related mental and physical activities that people pursue to conduct the exchange and consumption aspects of their lives.  E-commerce solution providers must understand how consumers employ the Internet in their participation of these exchange and consumption activities.  These activities can be conceptualized as responses to various internal (physical and mental) and external (social and physical  including marketing) stimuli.  When consumers recognize unmet needs as a result of processing these stimuli, then engage in a sequential (and sometimes reiterative) series of goal-directed mental and physical activities aimed at satisfying these needs.  These activities include the perception of a deficit or problem, a determination of available solutions, a choice of solutions, and postchoice and postconsumption activities.

"Cool Cities: Mega-Projects vs. Basic Economic Infrastructure"
MiBizWest, June 14, 2004, p. 30.
By Ben Rudolph

There is a lot of talk in West Michigan these days about what makes for the development of a "cool city." This whole discussion is a bit ludicrous in that "cool city" is a political term that does not have a clear definition. A cool city can therefore be whatever you think it should be. (In point of fact, young people these days use the ghetto slang term "phat" more than the word cool, proving that whoever made up the cool city slogan is actually an un-cool and elderly geezer. The work cool was a ghetto slang term in the 1950s. I know these things because I am a college professor and I work with actual young people.)

"Corporate Training: Using New Technologies to Produce Results"
West Michigan Business Review, Vol. 5, Spring 1999, pp. 7-9.
By Nancy Levenburg

A recent article in USA Today concluded that U.S. companies waste billions of dollars annually on corporate training programs that don't work. Training problems arise because: (1) employees aren't motivated; (2) programs are poorly designed; and (3) trainers lack experience, "frequently designing unimaginative or dull programs that employees find deter learning."

Similar criticism that traditionally-delivered training programs fail to deliver the desired results have been echoed by others. Many feel this is because they feel training programs often rely on outdated training methodologies that barely tap the potential of new learning technology. In the new paradigm, the location and timing of the instruction become important considerations in designing training experiences. New telecommunications technologies have been introduced in recent years and interest in using them for education and training purposes is exploding. The emerging models call for implementation of distance learning or "virtual" learning strategies into corporate training experiences, such as the use of online/Internet computer technologies, interactive television or videoconferencing technologies, videotapes, CD-ROMs, digital video disks, telecourses, printed materials, and audioconferencing.

"Country Tourism Positioning: The Case of Ghana"
University of Hawaii (AMA Special Interest Group - Global Marketing), July 2001
text link (http://www.cba.hawaii.edu/ama/July2001.htm) By Charles Blankson

While researchers have mostly explored positioning within the context of a firm's product mix, here, it is argued that within the global marketplace, most specifically marketing countries as tourist destinations, positioning plays a pivotal role. As such, the purpose of this note is essentially exploratory and descriptive with the broad intention of examining country positioning as tourist destinations. The positioning of Ghana as a tourist destination will be used as an illustration.

"DeVos Place: A True Public-Private Partnership"
MiBizWest, July 2003, pp. 34.
By Bennett L. Rudolph

The new DeVos Place convention center in downtown Grand Rapids is scheduled to hold its first event this December.  A full calendar of conventions and trade shows are scheduled to commence in January 2004. 

Don't expect the new convention center to make any money.  Convention centers rarely make money unless they are in Las Vegas.  Convention centers are used as a community 'loss leader'.  They are designed to bleed red ink.  The invention space itself is either given away or sold at a ridiculously low price in order to attract meetings to a city.  The hope and theory is that the community will recoup the convention center operating loss by having free spending tourists buy hotel space, restaurant meals, and hookers or other gifts or souvenirs.

Even Las Vegas, the only place where convention centers generally make money, hopes to make most of its profits from gambling and extra amenities rather than on the convention space itself.  That is why Las Vegas convention promoters are now using the slogan, 'What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.'  What is that supposed to mean to convention attendees?

"Dispelling Myths: The Truth About Faculty - Student Interactions in Online Classes"
Marketing Educator, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer 1999, pp. 5/1.
By Nancy Levenburg

A perception exists among some faculty that online classes (using computers and modems to deliver instruction) are impersonal. Someone even commented to me that "It's impossible to get to know students... you just can't shake hands over the Internet." On the other hand, my response is that the online environment furnishes an opportunity to get to know students that, in fact, may be superior- to the traditional, face-to-face environment. This is because both the quantity and the quality of discussions can be enhanced through online dialogues.[&]

"Distance Education: Full Family Member or Second Class Citizen?"
Marketing Educator, text link (http://www.ama.org/pubs/me/article.asp?id=4112)
By Nancy Levenburg

Interest in using distance learning technologies for education and training purposes is exploding. However, a number of studies conducted to measure the effectiveness of distance-delivered courses versus traditionally delivered (face-to-face) ones demonstrates the skepticism that many people hold towards distance education. Thus, while it has become very fashionable in recent years to advocate distance education - especially with bachelor's and master's level courses - there are few indications that distance education has attained full citizenship in the academic world. Possible reasons for this are explored in the article.

"Does 'Politically Correct' Make You Uncomfortable?"
MiBizWest, July 5, 2001, pp. 38
By Ben Rudolph

Examines political correctness on campus.

"e-Commerce Strategies for Business-to-Business Service Firms in the Global Environment"
American Business Review, June 2002, pp. 111-118.
By David J. Good and Roberta J. Schultz

The future is bright for online marketing, especially in service markets where buyers and sellers are motivated to cut costs, increase efficiency, reduce delivery time, and cultivate strong, vibrant client-seller relationships. In this environment for example, in an attempt to deliver quality products at a low cost, service marketers will increasingly look for methods to perform client selection, qualification, and selling through online placement, while developing methods to strengthen customer relationships. Faced with the opportunity to accomplish such key activities, electronic commerce has been forecasted to increase in activity from $109 billion in 1999 to as high as $7.3 trillion (Gartner Group, 2000). As a comparison to other markets, the Yankee Group estimates electronic commerce for the business-to-business sales market will account for 9 percent of total business sales and will be worth seven times the consumer market (Silverstein, 1999).

Given the enormous magnitude of online markets, it is obviously critical for service marketers who concentrate on business-to-business markets (B2B's) to examine and understand the role that electronic [...]

"Engineering Adds Insight to Marketing in Product Innovation"
Best Papers Proceeding, November 2003.
By Paul Lane and John Farris

Engineers contribute much to the product innovation process.  Parallel experimental courses in Marketing and Engineering have helped bring to light how this process works.  A basic product innovation framework is used to look at the contributions.  Engineers and Marketing people naturally view the process differently and therefore need to spend time thinking about structure in the process.  Each stage: ideation, screening, concept development, concept test, product development, product test, and the iterations that can be involved before market entry planning is examined in light of the engineers' contributions.  Suggestions are made for improvement in managing, teaching, and researching the process. 

"Enhancing Student Involvement in an International Marketing Class: A "Hands-on" Regional Journal Reports Approach"
Great Ideas in Teaching Marketing, Apr. 13, 2001, Sixth Edition pp. 90-91.
By Chris H. N. Mbah and Charles Blankson

Our experience in teaching International Marketing classes in different countries show that the inclusion of a structured students involvement activity is essential in the pursuit of the larger goal of learning. To achieve this, we suggest that regular class lectures and topical discussions be supported with relevant project(s) that expose student teams to important and influencing environmental, i.e., changes in geo-political and cultural environments within a designated region or country.

"Exceptions to Agency Theory Assumptions and the Rise of Contingency Employment in Marketing"
Marketing Management Journal, forthcoming.
By James Henley, Michael J. Cotter, Charles S. White

This study examined the practical problem of staffing using contingency employees and considers how agency theory relates to this increasingly common work situation. The authors propose that contingency employment does not adhere to the standard agency theory assumptions. Deviations from standard agency theory assumptions offered temporary employees an advantage over permanent employees.

"Facilitating e-Learning: An Examination of Course Completion and Program Retention Issues"
Journal of Education for Business, October 2000.
By Nancy M. Levenburg and Howard T. Major

Within higher education, the number of courses offered via the Internet is accelerating at a dizzying pace. Yet while learners have been drawn in record numbers to e-learning courses, some charge they suffer from lower completion and retention rates than their traditionally delivered counterparts. Factors impacting online course completion rates are discussed and suggestions are presented as to how educators can positively influence them. These suggestions include providing orientations and success strategy guidelines for new e-learners as well as course management strategies for instructors.

"Facilitating Faculty/Student Relationships in Online Classes"
Marketing Educator, October 22, 2000.
By Nancy M. Levenburg

Over the past few years, the number of courses delivered in whole or in part via the Internet has increased exponentially with the percentage of online students at many institutions at now fifteen percent or higher. In online versus face-to-face courses, numerous reports convey consistently high quality levels in asynchronous online discussions and no significant difference in terms of students' performance and academic achievement in online versus face-to-face courses. While this is a good news, concern about higher student attrition rates for online courses has also emerged.

"High Tech. Potential?: An Exploratory Study of Small Firms and Usage of the Internet"
International Small Business Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2, February 2000.
By Nancy M. Levenburg and Thomas C. Dandridge

Research on small business owners' use of the Internet has treated all firms with fewer than 25 employees as a common homogeneous group and compared these to larger firms. This study looks in detail at Internet use by 195 U.S. firms with fewer than 25 employees, finding marked differences in frequency and type of use among firms by size gradation. A general profile emerges since more frequent and more sophisticated use of the Internet exists by firms with four or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, and firms with intentions for growth in the next six months, including sales change, employment change and export plans. Given these new insights, suggestions for further research are offered.

"Hopeless In Holland - College of Religious Intolerance"
Freeman Magazine, June 1999, pp. 10-11.
By Ben Rudolph

Hope College has had a lot of negative press recently, most of it focusing on the issue of the apparent lack of acceptance of gays on campus. While the gay rights issue is real, it is actually the tip of the iceberg. Given the prevalence of homophobia in West Michigan, the local media focused on gay rights since this aspect of the controversy seemed the most newsworthy. Perhaps they also did not want to be too hard on a local college and believed that Hope's position on homosexuals would seem more reasonable to the local audience than the other aspects of Hope's position on religious intolerance[&]

"Hungarians' Economic Pessimism Sells Them Short"
MiBizWest, February 2003, pp. 34-35.
By Ben Rudolph

I have just returned from spending last semester teaching at the University of Pecs (pronounced Paash) in southern Hungary, about two hours from the Budepest and about 15 miles north of the Croatian border. It was a wonderful experience for both my wife and I.

Americans are very popular in Central Europe since people in this region of the world still recall our opposition to the Russian occupation of their region. The people of Central Europe thought the Russian occupation would never end and they give us a lot of credit for destroying the Soviet empire, thereby finally getting the Russians to leave.

"Impact of The Consideration of Future Sales Consequences and Customer-oriented Selling on Long-Term Buyer-Seller Relationships"
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2000, pp. 200-215.
By Roberta J. Schultz and David J. Good

The value of long-term relationships has become a widely studied variable in marketing. This article investigates two important characteristics of salespeople (consideration of future sales consequences and customer-oriented selling) and their effects on the usage of long-term relationships. In turn, associations between a long-term relationship orientation, and a preference -for long-term compensation are explored. The findings suggest managerial and research implications for structuring of reward systems and potential tools for recruiting, selection and assignment of salespeople based on these characteristics.

"Intercultural Interaction Strategies and Relationship Selling in Industrial Markets"
Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 28, 1999, pp. 589-599.
By Roberta . Schultz, Kenneth R. Evans and David J. Good

The academic literature has convincingly noted the growing importance and impact that corporate culture has on the behavior of firms. Correspondingly, industrial sellers are increasingly relying on relationship selling as a key marketing strategy. In conjunction with these two issues, this article demonstrates how capitalizing on an effective understanding of the buyer's corporate culture can be used by sellers to achieve a competitive advantage in developing and maintaining long-term buyer-seller relationships. The implications of this approach are also discussed.

"Internationalizing Your Internet Presence"
Marketing News, March 2000
By Nancy M. Levenburg

Without a doubt, the Internet offers marketers a vehicle for communicating with a worldwide audience about their goods and services. Company information as well as information about products themselves, their availability, prices, and so on is only a point-and-click away from an estimated 171 million Internet users worldwide, according to Nua's May 1999 survey (www.nua.ie). Since the majority of these Internet users are American, U.S.-based marketers desiring to serve a global market need to make sure that their Web sites and Internet strategies reinforce their good intentions to "be all and serve all." [&]

"Kindling the Fire: How to Attract Faculty to Distance Education"
Technology Source, September/October 2000, text link (http://horizon.unc.edu/TS/default.asp?show=article&id=803)
By Nancy Levenburg and Howard Major

Few institutions these days are delivering courses and programs in only a traditional, face-to-face manner. Instead, new technologies now enrich and expand traditional offerings, as is evident in the explosive growth in the number of courses that institutions offer via distance education. Institutions launch new or modify existing courses and programs for distance delivery because new technologies enable them to tap new markets (learners) in a highly cost-effective manner. These institutions have also established faculty teaching and learning centers to encourage instructional improvement, including the use of information technology tools. Considering the strong advantages of technology-enhanced learning, how should administrators attract faculty members to these initiatives? What is the best way to "kindle the fire?"

"Learner Success in Distance Education Environments: A Shared Responsibility"
E-learning: Expanding the Training Classroom through Technology, 2000, pp. 51-60.
By Howard Major and Nancy M. Levenburg

Student success has become a primary focus of today's educational institutions and is an area of national concern. The successful mastery of academic content, once viewed entirely as the learners' responsibility, is now considered a shared responsibility between three major players: the student, the instructor, and the educational institution.

Literary tracts on successful strategies for traditional classroom environments are legion. Less understood and written about are strategies for effective learning in distance education environments. Learning in distance education environments requires unique strategies that may be initiated by the instructor, the institution, and/or the learners themselves. The purpose of this chapter is to describe these strategies.

"Marketing Communications Project: Working with Local Firms"
Great Ideas in Teaching Marketing, Apr. 13, 2001, Sixth Edition pp. 19-20.
By Chris H. N. Mbah and Charles Blankson

We believe that having student teams work with local firms on matters of mutual interest can often yield a "win-win" outcome. The students learn something about the applications of modern principles and concepts in the real world, and the local firm gains from student inputs. To emphasize the relevance of this project we suggest that it is made an important part of the overall course grade.

"New Strip Joints Prove that Political Incorrect Sells"
MiBizWest, Aug. 9, 2004, p. 26.
By Ben Rudolph

Have you noticed all the new strip clubs opening in West Michigan? I guess we will have to admit that even West Michigan tourists and conventioneers are interested in politically incorrect sex. Visitors may come to Grand Rapids to attend a religious convention but after the convention meetings are over attendees want the same things as other conventioneers want in any location: booze and sex. I guess what happens in Grand Rapids stays in Grand Rapids.

"Positioning for Effectiveness: Applying Marketing Concepts to Web-Based Training"
Web-Based Training, June 27, 2001, pp. 395-398.
By Nancy M. Levenburg

As providers of education and training look to the future, most face challenging prospects. New competitors have emerged as telecommunications and distance education technology have torn down traditional boundaries, resulting in new spheres of influence. New competitors have emerged as private firms and professional organizations have created their own training and certification programs, and have thereby served learning needs that were previously provided in-house or by colleges and by universities [...]

"Positioning Strategies in Business Markets"
Journal of Business and Industrial Markets, Dec. 2000, Vol. 15, No. 6&7, pp. 416-437.
By Stavros P. Kalafatis, Markos H. Tsogas, Charles Blankson

Tests the relevance of positioning within the domain of business marketing through the application of a new typology of positioning strategies. The proposed typology is tested in a well-established market sector which is characterized by commodity products, and consequently the research deals with positioning as applied to actual companies rather than specific brands. Our results offer strong support as to the stability of the proposed typology and the relevance of the concept of positioning in business markets. The authors suggest that although business positioning is predominantly determined by hard criteria e.g. product quality, and relationship building factors e.g. personal contact, other considerations such as company structures i.e. geographical coverage, breadth of offerings and degree of integration i.e. location in the distribution chain, also play an important part. Finally we offer support to the claim that, level of familiarity with a specific company is a contributing factor to perceptions of the pursued positioning strategies.

"Sailing Into the Gale - Who Will Survive?"
MiBizWest, May 3, 2004, p. 34.
By Ben Rudolph

Running a business is like steering a ship into strong winds. That is the nature of free enterprise. In theory, and often in fact, the customer is the beneficiary of the hard work and effort needed to keep the ship on course. It is the customers money that is at stake and it is the customer who decides who will survive the storm. That makes running a business an endless amount of hard work and worry. Every day brings new challenges. It certainly would not be worth the effort except for the fact that if you happen to win the race the economic system sometimes pays you off with an awful lot of money. If you lose the race it is not the equivalent of a person dying. You might have better luck and easier sailing next time. In a bizarre way, some people actually enjoy the experience.

"Sales Quotas: Critical Interpretations and Implications"
Review of Business, Spring 2001, Vol. 1, pp. 32-36.
By David Good and Charles H. Schwepker, Jr.

Accomplishing sales objectives is a critical activity of sales organizations. Effected through the assignment of sales quotas, their impact on the firm can be enormous. Yet, despite the key role of sales quotas, very little is known about their use within marketing organizations. To address this issue, this article explores what levels of sales quota performance result in management evaluation of strong, average, and poor performers. From this basis, the consequences of salespeople who fail to make sales quotas are then examined.

"Save-A-Lot Food Stores: A Case Study in Market Segmentation"
MiBizWest, August 1, 2001, pp. 34.
By Ben Rudolph

D and W Food Centers has recently entered into an arrangement with Supervalu, their primary wholesaler, to open a large number of "Save-A-Lot" limited line grocery stores in West Michigan. Supervalu, you might recall, was the wholesaler who replaced Spartan Stores as D and W's primary wholesaler. This occurred after Spartan started to purchase several West Michigan grocery chains and thereby compete directly with D and W.

Given the current trends in the grocery business, D and W's strategy is rather interesting to professional marketers.

"Spectrum Health Major Price Increase Predictable"
MiBizWest, July 12, 2004, pp. 30-31.
By Ben Rudolph

Spectrum Health recently announced that their prices will be increasing by 12 percent next fall. Big surprise! Long time readers will recall my predication of this increase in 1997 when Butterworth and Blodgett Hospitals were allowed to merge in order to form Spectrum.

"Staying Prosperous in Hard Times"
MiBizWest, June 2003, pp. 38, 39.
By Bennett L. Rudolph

Free enterprise is a tough taskmaster.  It is supposed to be a tough taskmaster.  That is why free enterprise is ruthlessly efficient.  Not kind or humane, but efficient.  Most business enterprises don't last very long.  The oldest continuously operating business enterprise in the world is Canada's Hudson's Bay Co. which today operates the Bay Department Stores.  Even they are only a little more than 200 Years old.  Given the increasing pace of economic and political change in the world, I wonder if any of our current business enterprises will be around in 200 years.  I tend to doubt it.

Tough economic conditions usually involve a significant business shakeout.  The current economic depression is no exception.  It is well known that some of West Michigan's largest enterprises are on the ropes.  Some of these enterprises were not all that badly managed.  They just were in the wrong place (or industry) at the wrong time.  They simply continued to do what they always did.  In current conditions that is not good enough.

Only firms willing to change with conditions can achieve prosperity in tough times.  But change is hard and demanding.  Not many organizations can change fast enough.

The airline industry provides a good example.  Most U.S. airlines are on the verge of bankruptcy or even liquidation.  Nonetheless, Southwest and Jet Blue reported record profits last quarter.

"Tests of the Validity of Perceptions About Interactive Television Courses Among Faculty Members and Students"
Journal of Private Enterprise, Vol. 16, No. 1, Fall 2000, pp. 143-145.
By Suzeanne B. Benet and Nancy M. Levenburg

In the 1990's many institutions have begun offering programs and courses delivered via distance learning technologies, particularly for returning, adult learners who are time- and location-bound, desiring to advance their education and career opportunities yet constrained by job and family responsibilities. One popular form of distance learning is interactive television, a technology that connects two or more classrooms with two-way audio and two-way video. Many faculty members, however, have expressed reluctance to become involved in distance education. Since they are instrumental in this educational process, a study was conducted in which the perceptions of four distinct groups were explored regrading various aspects of the distance learning experience via YIV; students who have and have not taken an ITV course, and faculry/administrators who have and have not taught an ITV course. [&]

"The Assimilation of Computer-Aided Marketing Activities"
Information and Management, Vol. 38, Summer 2001, pp. 437-447.
By Robert Stone and David Good

The use of computers has been assumed to provide substantial benefits in organizations (e.g. competitive advantage). Consequently, marketers are increasingly accepting computerization, although empirical evidence supporting the value of this technology is limited. To explore this phenomena, data were collected from 195 marketing executives in a national survey. These data were used to test a model involving the benefits from computerization. The results indicate that computerization aids in the assimilation of tactical and strategic activities. The benefits and implications of this integration are discussed.

"The decline and fall of the prestigious MBA program"
MiBizWest, December 13, 2004, p. 33.
By Ben Rudolph

Hidden in the joy and euphoria local colleges and universities have expressed about their ever increasing enrollment is one glaringly negative statistic.  The number of people going on for the Masters in Business Administration degree (MBA) has fallen precipitously in recent years.

According to the 2004 Applications Trends Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 78 percent of the universities offering traditional two-year MBA programs have experienced a significantly decreased number of applications this year while 67 percent of the universities offering accelerated one-year programs also experienced a significant application decline.  Grand Valley State Universitys Seidman College of Business experienced a 14 percent decline in MBA applications this year and y personal conversations with faculty members at other local institutions indicate that their declines were similar or, in some cases, even greater than the Seidman College decline.

"The Impact of Computerization on Marketing Performance"
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2000, pp. 34-56.
David J. Good and Robert W. Stone

Although chiefly, anecdotal, reports that performance is enhanced through technology has encouraged many marketers to adopt computer systems. To examine this issue, 183 industrial marketing executives familiar with computers were surveyed. The results suggest that, properly managed, computer usage enriches individual marketer productivity and, in turn, organizational performance. Because managers can direct this productivity through organizational activities and investments, these findings suggest a number of key implications for marketers and researchers interested in utilizing and/or expanding applications of computer technology.

"The Impact of Sales Quotas on Moral Judgment in the Financial Services Industry"
The Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 13, No. 1, 1999, pp. 38-58.
By Charles H. Schwepker and David J. Good

Because salespeople operating under an outcome-based control system are likely to be motivated by self-interest, sales quotas are believed to drive salespeople to perform unethical behavior, particularly if this behavior is deemed necessary to achieve quota. Accordingly, this article examines the relationship between perceived quota difficulty and moral judgment. Two factors potentially moderating this relationship, ethical climate and consequences for not making quota, are also considered, as well as the influence of market attractiveness and self-efficacy on quota difficulty. The analysis indicates a significant relationship between quota difficulty and moral judgment when salespeople foresee negative consequences for failing to achieve quota. Further self efficacy and market attractiveness affected perceived quota difficulty. Implications of the study are offered.

"The Invariance of an Information Technology Impacts Model by the Executive's Organizational Position"
Western 2001 Proceedings, April 23, 2001, No. 3-7, pp. 620-622.
By Robert Stove and David Good

The invariance, by exacutive position in the organization, of an information technology impacts model is examined. The theoretical model links computer training, end-user previous computer experience, information quality, ease of system use, customer knowledge in the firm's industry, and the tasks performed using the system to individual and, ultimately, firm performance impacts through system use and satisfaction. The empirical examination uses data from business executives' responses to a national mail survey. The empirical analysis uses structural equation modeling to examine variance of the model to organizational position of the respondent. The results indicate that the interrelationships among the theoretical constructs in the model are generally invariant across these different positions in the organization.

"The Role of Attorneys in Abetting Stockholder Swindles"
MiBizWest, January 2003, p. 43
By Ben Rudolph

The legal community has done a great job of avoiding blame or responsibility in the most recent round of corporate scandals and stockholder swindles. Enron and WorldCom executive potentially face jail, but the attorneys who often thought up the various schemes are held blameless.

"The Story Behind the Bloodletting in Ada"
Shorline Business Monthly, June 2000, p. 38A.
By Ben Rudolph

In case you have not heard, Amway is "internationalizing." Roughly, internationalizing seems to mean that it is firing almost all of its white-collar workers and will rehire about half of them at lower salaries if workers choose to reapply. That is a mighty strange definition of the term internationalizing, but that is what it seems to mean in Ada these days. Perhaps and older, quainter and more colorful phrase is more apt. We used to call this process "bloodletting" "or giving the workers the ax." [...]

"Towards The Development of a Consumer-Derived Generic Positioning Typology"
2000 AMA Educators' Proceedings, August 2000, Vol. 11, pp. 259-260.
By Charles Blankson, Stavros P. Kalafatis

Despite the increasing activities and interest in the concept of positioning, existing typologies are conceptual and based on very limited empirical evidence or reflect managerial views. The task of consumer derived positioning typologies appears to have been ignored by marketing scholars. The study presents the initial results of an empirical work design to develop a consumer based, generic positioning typology. It concludes by providing managerial implications and directions for future research.

"Understanding Adoption of Internet Technologies"
Small Business Advancement National Center Newsletter, Vol. 230, June 2002, p. 5.
By Nancy M. Levenburg, Thomas V. Schwarz, and Thomas C. Danridge

 

Today's array of Internet technologies have profoundly impacted business strategies. Despite impressive growth in overall Internet usage, previous research has demonstrated that adoption rates for technology vary depending on perceptions of ease-of-use and usefulness. Based on data collected from 300 small businesses, technologies that are easiest to use are typically adopted first. Subsequently, firms invest in more demanding and costly marketing related activities, primarily Web page development, because of the perceived usefulness in sales and profit improvement. At this stage, there is a significant increase of Internet technology usage and adoption.

"Understand Sales Quotas: An Exploratory Investigation of Consequences of Failure"
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2004.
By David Good & Charles Schwepker, Jr.

Sales quotas typically drive sales organizations. As such, the ability of the sales organization, both individually (the salesperson) and the group (the total collection of the sales professionals), to accomplish its quota has a significant impact on the performance of the sales and marketing organization, as well as the entire firm. Within the context of this use, quotas represent a critical sales goal, although very little is actually known about their strategic or operational use within marketing organizations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate quotas from a strategic and operational perspective to provide additional insight into understanding sales quotas. Specifically, this manuscript investigates the consequences of failing to achieve quota and the relationship between these consequences and salesperson performance, salesperson income, and the firms annual sales revenue. In addition, the relationship between these variables and quota difficulty, and quota performance are explored.

"Unlimited Usage Bundled Fixed Pricing Plans Vs. Individual Component Pricing For Service Marketers"
International Business Trends: Contemporary Readings, 2004, Academy of Business Administration, pp. 315-317.
By Bennett L. Rudolph and R. Eugene Klippel

Many service marketers utilize unlimited usage plans as a competitive pricing tool. These plans appear to be exceptional values but are based on the buyers assumption of the need for heavy usage.  Marketers are aware that most buyers are not in fact heavy users but that consumers often overestimate their needs.  This paper examines the unlimited usage pricing phenomenon in service marketing and describes the economics and marketing strategy of over-capacity utilization that drives it. 

"What the Fryling Murder Tells Us"
Freeman Magazine, May 2002, pp. 1-3.
By Ben Rudolph

 

The facts of the Fryling murder case are rather straightforward and already familiar to most of those who reside in West Michigan. Robert Fryling was a very successful business executive and clearly part of the West Michigan aristocracy. In fact, he had extensive business dealings with Rich DeVos and many of our other top business leaders, and his stepdaughter had married a DeVos. You cannot get more "establishment" than that, at least not here in West Michigan [...]

"What Would Jesus Do? Would He Sue Someone for Plagiarizing His Ideas?"
Freeman Magazine, March 1999, pp. 14-17.
By Ben Rudolph

Have you heard that a lawsuit is likely to be filed disputing the ownership of the acronym WWJD, which stands for "What Would Jesus Do?" Big money is involved, It seems that nearly 15 million cloth woven bracelets with this acronym have been sold, not to mention hats, T-shirts, and gold rings. These products are currently made by nearly sixty companies; many of them based in West Michigan. National companies are expected to join in relatively soon, Hallmark is ready to market plush toys with the logo and both Borders and Barnes and Noble reportedly placed large orders for 1999 calendars that feature the acronym [&]

"Why China Has Become America's Fourth Largest Trade Partner"
MiBizWest, June 2002, pp. 38-39.
By Ben Rudolph

 

Last month West Michigan had its annual World Trade Week celebration. China was the focus of this year's meetings. I attended most of the scheduled events and had a great time co-hosting, along with Fifth Third Bank's Martha Johnson, the World Affairs Council's Worldquest geography quiz contest at the B.O.B.

China was an excellent country to focus on. While some may not realize it, China has replaced Germany as the U.S.'s fourth largest trade partner. Many believe it will soon overtake Japan, which is currently our third major trade partner. That would leave only Canada and Mexico, both of which have obvious geographic advantages, as our only larger trade partners.[...]

"Why High-Tech Companies Don't Come to West Michigan"
MiBizWest, May 2003, pp. 42, 43.
By Bennett L. Rudolph

An expensive and high-powered Michigan economic development study has recently been completed.  The final report was released last month.  The report is entitled Impact of Quality of Life Indicators on Michigan Cities.  The project was conducted by Public Service Consultants, a Lansing think tank, and sponsored by the Frey Foundation of Grand Rapids, the Hudson Webber Foundation of Detroit, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

According to the report the only city in Michigan that has the ability to attract high-tech businesses is Ann Arbor.  As Tony Earley, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy and the Business Roundtable stated, "In the 'new economy,' young, aggressive entrepreneurs are making location decisions based largely on quality-of-life concerns.  Cities and states need to take aggressive steps to assure that they offer amenities that this new generation of workers requires."

The researchers polled a large number of high-tech executives and workers.  These respondents made it abundantly clear that they are seeking an invigorating lifestyle rather than the cheapest place to live.  In presenting the report, the researchers, Public Service Consultants stated that, "We find that 'new economy' workers seek a blend of traditional and cultural amenities such as small neighborhood festivals, outdoor dining and nightlife in the places they live and work."

"Working Smarter: the Impact of Technology on Marketer Motivation"
Participation & Empowerment, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1999, pp. 56-67.
By David J. Good and Robert W. Stone

The variables impacting marketers' motivation to work smarter are examined. These influencing variables are the manager's venturesomeness, job challenge, effort and skill results as well as self-esteem. The model is empirically tested using 273 responses to a questionnaire distributed to marketers using a purchased, national mailing list. The empirical tests were done using a structural equations approach and maximum likelihood estimation. The results indicate, that the motivation to work smarter is directly and positively impacted by the manager's job challenge, effort and skid results, and venturesomeness. The manager's self-esteem has positive, indirect impacts on the motivation to work smarter through each of the manager's venturesomeness, effort and skill results, and job challenge. Based on these results, recommendations on how' marketers can be encouraged to work smarter are made. 

Proceedings

"Getting Started: Delivering a Business Plan Course Online"
Proceedings, USASBE/SBIDA 2000: The Entrepreneurial Millenium, Feb 2000.
By Nancy Levenburg

Given the high level of interest in delivering education and training via new educational technologies, how do teachers and trainers make decisions with respect to instructional strategies? How do they "migrate" courses/training from traditional environments to nontraditional ones? Using the Valley Business Plan Web Site (http://www.BusPlan.cc) as a case study, this session will focus on reviewing alternative delivery methods and the various ways that instructional strategies might be accomplished in the online environment. Important lessons learned from teaching online and various "tips and techniques" will also be discussed.

This session will be of interest to those who are interested in using the Internet to support traditional courses, enrich or enhance traditional offerings by placing materials on the Web, or expand access to learning by time- and location-shifting education. Implications for faculty development, continuing education and support will be emphasized.

"Marketing Via the Internet: Micro-Firms and E-Commerce"
American Marketing Association, Winter 2001 Educators' Conference Proceedings
By Nancy M. Levenburg, Thomas C. Dandridge and Soon Hong

Little is known about how very small businesses use the Internet. This study presents results of a national survey on Internet usage among firms with an average of 3.5 full-time equivalent employees. It considers their types of use and analyzes relationships between use and various characteristics, including sales growth.

"Naturel Bodycare: A Case Study in e-Marketing Effectiveness"
2001 Proceedings of the North American Case Research Association Meeting,
By Nancy M. Levenburg

It was a warm, sunny evening in late spring of 2001. Tracy Dowler, owner and founder of Naturel Bodycare, sat at her kitchen table, smiled, and gazed into the backyard. Tracy lived on a farm in Newaygo, Michigan, a rural area along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. She had just finished reading a newspaper article in which it was stated that the number of worldwide Internet users now approached 380 million. According to the article, United States users led worldwide home Internet use, with more than 98 million people logging on from home in December 2000 (U.S. Leads in Web Rankings, 2001), upwards of 40 percent of U.S. households. Of these, the majority were female. The statistics reported in the article confirmed her thinking that she had made the right decision when she purchased a domain name and created a Web site (http://www.naturelbodycare.com) for her business. Her only question at the moment was, if her company's site was a good one, why hadn't it generated any orders in the past two months?

"Navigating the Murky Waters of Web Conferencing Software: A "Consumers Reports" Approach to Evaluating the Options"
Proceedings, 15th Annual Conferencing Distance Teaching + Learning, 1999, pp. 489-492.
By Nancy Levenburg

Over seventy Web conferencing, course authoring and "courseware" software alternatives are available in the marketplace today. This makes technology decision making with respect to online classes a complicated matter, indeed. Given that so many different types of systems exist, ranging from Internet interfaces to privately customized software with direct dial access, what criteria should online instructors and administrators used to evaluate the options? This paper presents (a) a simple three-attribute framework for sorting software alternatives into relevant categories; (b) an overview/introduction to "must have" features versus "bells and whistles"; (c) a discussion focused on the most popular alternatives and their characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.

"Small Business Use of the Internet: They're not yet Betting the Farm"
Proceedings, USASBE/SBIDA: The Entrepreneurial Millennium, Feb 2000
By Nancy M. Levenburg and Thomas C. Dandridge

There have been few times in the history of commerce that truly major changes in the way business can be done have confronted people operating existing businesses and starting new ones. Owners are now faced with such a dilemma-if, how and when to invest in a new communications medium-the Internet. The limited past research has begun to consider the ways small firms participate, but has not looked in depth at very small firms with fifty employees or less. During August 1999, a national study was undertaken in order to explore how very small businesses use the Internet and the extent of use by demographic categories. The study was sponsored by the Padgett Business Services Foundation.

"Some Issues About the Concept of Positioning: An Overview"
2001 Atlantic Marketing Association Annual Conference
By Charles Blankson

Examination of extant literature clearly indicates that the concept of positioning is important for both consumer and business-to-business markets and is regarded by both academics and practitioners as one of the key elements of modern marketing management. Despite the attention given to the concept, there is still confusion surrounding the meaning of the concept and its operationalisation. This paper presents a simple overview framework on the concept within the context and aims to contribute to the debate on the subject.

"Structural Adjustment and Private Companies' Market Orientations in Ghana"
2001 Proceedings of International Academy of African Business and Development, April 2001, Vol. 1, pp. 10-18.
By Charles Blankson, Ceasar Douglas and Ogenyi E. Omar

Over the past 17 years, Ghana's adoption of the structural adjustment program (SAP) has won many accolades from both independent observers and the "donor" community-notably the World Bank and the IMF. This study explores Ghanaian private companies' marketing orientations in a changing environment, i.e. the SAP-induced environment. This research found that all the measures examined had a significant impact on the level of companies' market orientation. More specifically, the results suggest that there is a positive link between SAP-induced business strategies and market orientation. Discussion, conclusion, managerial implications and future research directions are stated.

"The Positioning of Ghana as a Tourist Destination"
2001 Proceedings of The International Academy of African Business and Development, Vol. 1, April 2001, pp. 75-82.
By Charles Blankson, Felix Abeson and Chris H. N. Mbah

This paper is an exploratory study and examines the concept of positioning and its interface with tourism development. We infer that although positioning is equally pertinent to both goods and services, we believe that the positioning of countries (see Ries and Trout, 1986) possess characteristics such as socio-political implications which makes positioning of countries more challenging than the positioning of goods and services. The study setting adapted for this study is the Ghanaian tourism market. Following review of the literature and assessment of secondary data, we discuss the tourism market and then propose a simple conceptual positioning framework for tourism in Ghana. Conclusions, managerial implications, and future research directions are provided.

"Toward a Composite Strategic Positioning Model"
10th Biennial World Marketing Congress Conference, June 28 - July 1, 2001
By Charles Blankson and Stavros Kalafatis

The main purpose of this study is the formulation and validation of a comprehensive normative positioning framework for the services industry. Before we proceed to present the proposed framework which reflects literature-derived conceptualisation of the positioning process and subsequently guides the empirical stages of the research, a brief review of the main limitations identified during the review of extant literature is presented below. These limitations are based on the acceptance that positioning, (a) plays a central role in contemporary marketing management, and (b) reflects a set of activities, which are managed, and which should collectively reflect/attempt to achieve some overall aim/purpose.

1. Conceptualisation of positioning as a process through which consumers' perceptions are identified and plotted on perceptual maps is considered to be simplistic and lack any conceptual or managerial underpinning, i.e. there is a difference between perceptual positions (i.e. a static representation of a market structure) and positioning (i.e. the proactive management of activities designed to position an offering against competing ones).

2. It is no longer sufficient to treat positioning only as a means of identifying consumer perceptions and plotting them on perceptual maps or just conceptualising how positioning may be effected by management (McKenna, 1986).

3. The adequacy of embarking on communication tactics with the hope of altering consumers' minds/perceptions is also questioned. It is our view that "positioning orientation", i.e. the management of the positioning process as reflected in the congruence of related activities, such as delineation of a firm's positioning aim(s) and objective(s), assessment of resource capabilities, and development of appropriate communication strategies should form the basis of positioning activities. This should be supported by a commitment by management to encourage the survival of the "positioning orientation" over time (see Lamb and Cravens, 1990; Hooley and Saunders, 1993; Porter, 1996; Hooley et al., 1998.

4. There is evidence to suggest that concerns have been raised about the difficulties facing practitioners in fully understanding extant academic literature and particularly issues pertaining to the operationalisation of positioning. The above provide a challenge for the development of operationalisation guidelines which are easy to implement and comprehensible by managers (Hodock, 1980, cited in Crask and Lasky, 1990; Hooley and Saunders, 1993; Hooley et al., 1998).

"Trends in Online Education: Where We've Been and Where We're Headed"
Proceedings, 15th Annual Conferencing Distance Teaching + Learning, 1999, pp. 301-306.
By Nancy M. Levenburg

This paper presents a perspective which maintains that a well-documented marketing concept offers a tool for understanding enrollment patterns in online education. It is called the product life cycle.

"UK - Resident African Small Service Businesses: Patterns of Marketing Practices"
2000 Proceedings The Global Challenge of African Business and Economic Development in the New Millennium", Vol. 1, April 2000, pp. 218-226.
By Charles Blankson

This study is the first stage of a more comprehensive quantitative research aimed at examining marketing patterns and practices among UK - resident African small service businesses. The results partly responds to recent calls for marketing related research in this sector. On the overall, the study reveals that there are certain underlying factors such as the level of education of owner-managers, experience in running the business and family/friends financial support, interfacing with marketing practices in this sector and, to some extent, the application of the market orientation concept. The paper concludes by drawing attention to future research directions.

 

Sabbatical Reports
 

Michael J. Cotter 

This study contrasts the success in negotiation outcomes of newly trained women and men in a face-to-face, zero-sum game scenario with a time deadline and significant tangible stakes when dealing with an unknown product over the course of up to ten sessions. Results indicate insignificant gender differences for 90% of sessions when acting as buyers and sellers. Findings suggest that negotiation training may bolster the female negotiation success relative to males.

 

Page last modified November 15, 2012